Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Day in the Life

Those of you with small children, or if you are a stay at home parent will relate to this post.  Those who don't or aren't, well, if you have ever wondered about what a normal day looks like of a stay at home parent, enjoy, and maybe you will look at that frazzled parent in the coffee shop with a little more sympathy next time, as the kids run circles around the cafe, giggling hysterically.  As I like to say, we pick our battles over here.

8:23 PM:  Kids finally in bed, time to relax!  Just kidding.  Time to finish up the dinner dishes, because nothing sucks the day's motivation out of you in the morning like a pile of dirty dishes staring you in the face.

8:50 PM:  If it's Sunday, time to watch Downton Abbey.  If not, go to bed with a good book and try not to stay up too late reading.

10:37 PM:  Go to sleep doofus!  Kids wait for no one to sleep in!

Some time during the night somebody/everybody wakes up for no reason/every reason ever possibly imagined.  After settling the kids, and crawling back in to bed, you sleep for another hour when somebody/everybody wakes up again for no apparent reason.  Well, actually it's because they didn't eat dinner.  More on that later.  You purposely never look at the time when you get up in the middle of the night, so you will not despair at the ungodly hour.

6:15 AM, 7:45 AM if you are lucky that day:  The younger one wakes up and crawls into bed with you.  This would be totally fine if she didn't squirm so much and talk loudly about how hungry she is.  Feeling sorry for your husband who worked late and is moaning about his sleep being interrupted, you get up and collect the noisy kids to go make breakfast.

7:00 AM:  Breakfast, where one kid eats happily and the other just eats bananas and apples.  You gave up caring about that long ago.  At least she is eating.

7:30  AM:  Dispense vitamins, turn on the TV so you can wash up breakfast dishes.  You secretly have a love/hate relationship with the TV.  It enables you to be alone for extended periods, but you feel guilty every time you turn it on.

8:30  AM:  Husband comes down for breakfast and relates how he needs to be at work early today, which means he is already late and can you please please please make his lunch and coffee while he packs his bag?  He is taking the car to work today, and the laptop.  Great.  Stuck home all day with no internet besides on your phone.  Not really true since you can easily walk to the park or visit a neighbor to pass the time; it is just easier to stay home and do the woe is me bit.

8:45 AM:  You finally make your way upstairs to get dressed but are distracted by an alert on your phone.  You spiral down the rabbit hole of Facebook for 45 minutes, then get disgusted with the time you are wasting.  Go get dressed!

9:04 AM:  Get a load of laundry going and sit down with a notepad to make a to-do list for the day, though it feels like the day is half over already.

9:06 AM:  The kid who ate fruit for breakfast comes to tell you she is hungry and needs a snack.  You think "well duh, all you ate this morning was an apple".  She wants to eat raisins on the couch.  And now so does the other one.  Fine, just leave me alone so I can make this pointless to-do list!

10:15 AM:  Switch over the laundry, and start negotiations to turn off the TV so you can stop feeling like a failure of a mom.

10:16 AM:  Negotiations failed.

10:38 AM:  You lay down Mommy Law and turn off the TV, then spend the next 30 minutes comforting them with promises of more TV later and cookie baking.

11:15 AM:  You are baking cookies together (look!  fun family learning time!), which is fun and nerve-wracking all at the same time.  Baking with a 3 and 4 1/2 year old is an exercise in patience that stretches your patience limits to the max.  Well, not every time, but a lot of the time.  They beg for cups of chocolate chips to eat, which you grant so they won't have a tantrum about it.  While the cookies are baking they whine about how badly they want a cookie.

12:03 PM:  You let them eat more cookies then they should, but don't care today because they are eating something, so that's good, right?  Right? 

12:04 PM:  You start to make lunch since you are in the kitchen anyway, and they don't want to eat it or eat very little because they already had cookies.  Well, lunch in solitude is great anyway.

1:00 PM:  In order to make the day not feel like a total waste you decide to sweep the entire house and vacuum all the rugs and carpet, too.  It would be a good idea to mop, too, but let's be honest here; you have mopped these floors a total of two times in 5 years, so that ain't happenin' today.

2:15 PM:  Kids are whiny and awful from hunger.  You serve them what you made for lunch and they throw themselves on the freshly swept floors and cry about how they hate tuna salad/chicken/ham.  You sweeten the deal by adding in raisins to the offering which helps, but then the older one asks if she can just have some more cookies.  You try really hard this time to not yell at her, but it is hard.

3:00 PM:  In an attempt to be a loving, nurturing, engaged parent, you cuddle on the couch and read books with the kids.  It is going very well except for all the yawning you are doing, and they just want to look at/"read" the photo books you have made over the years.  Sounds nice doesn't it?  Well, "reading" the same 2 photo albums over and over is more like mind numbing.  Reading that horrible Barbie in the Pink Shoes book almost sounds better.  Almost.

3:38 PM:  Some coffee sounds so good right now, but you've given up coffee since suspecting it is partly responsible for how often you used to yell at the kids.  Coffee makes you grouchy and jumpy.  Even decaf.  Sigh.

4:01 PM:  You have given in and allowed the kids to watch a movie.  They want you to watch, too, but there is no way you are sitting through Meet the Fairies ever. again.

4:40 PM:  You have just lost 39 minutes of time getting lost in email and Facebook again, and you scramble to get a start on dinner.  Having no idea when husband will be home, you try to time dinner to be ready by 5:45 ish.  Most likely he will be home after you have eaten.

5:23 PM:  Somehow you convince the kids to stop watching TV so you can feed them.  It is too early, but better to head off the inevitable whinys with an early dinner.  You are hungry, too, anyway.

6:00 PM:  Partially clean up the kitchen, then half-heartedly play with the kids because all you can think about is how it is almost bedtime and husband should be home any minute and thank gawd this day is almost over.

6:17 PM:  Hurray, he is home!  Reprieve!  Kids go bananas and climb all over him.  If he had a good day and had a beer before coming home he will be feeling good and will play with them for a while so you can escape to another room and tidy up.  Otherwise, he is short-tempered and just wants to eat dinner with nobody touching him.  A tall order around here.

6:50 PM:  The husband and yourself start the "who is doing bedtime tonight" negotiations.  It is determined by how many nights he is working and the task falls to you anyway, and who is more stressed out and frazzled.  Today it falls to you.  Bummer.

7:00 PM:  Herd children upstairs to a bath while husband washes dishes and then collapses on the couch with a beer.

7:25 PM:  Get kids out of bath, brush and floss teeth, brush hair, pajamas on, read books, say prayers, more water to drink, need to pee, fix my blanket it isn't flat, I need to lay on the middle of my pillow mom, and can I have one more hug?  Yes yes yes, now goodnight love you see you in the morning.  Whew!

8:15 PM:  Blissful quiet.  Husband wants to watch TV with you.  You hate watching TV at night because it is hard for you to sleep afterwards.  But it is his favorite evening activity to do with you (well...second favorite.  TMI!) and he knows you hate it but he still asks and of course you relent because you miss him when he is at work and want to spend time with him.

10:15 PM:  Gawd you need to get to bed!  Those kids get up early and judging from the number of items crossed off the to-do list today you have plenty to pretend to do tomorrow.

11:00 PM:  Sleeping. Cue kid crying.  Sigh.

What about you?  Does this sound familiar?  Thanks for stopping by!